1 John 4:7-10, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
In these next verses is a wealth of information about the very Nature and Character of God Himself. Yet, when you acknowledge that information in light of those He has created in His Image or likeness, you can see the same CAPACITY to love is in His creation, mankind. The only thing marring that character in man is the sinfulness and self-centeredness associated with man’s downfall!
Now we need to understand something; everyone, saint and sinner BELIEVES that love is important. Yet within that belief is a world of difference and I mean just that, a WORLD! Most associate love with a feeling. I know, here goes Pastor Roland again off on one of his “love” rants, broken record, around and around we go. Yet, I am so blessed to see Christendom actually not just picking up on the truth of what love truly is, but clarifying it and teaching it.
Mankind is bombarded each and every day with the world’s idea and propaganda of what love is supposed to be, in THEIR image or imagination! Yet it seems only recently that true followers of Christ Jesus are starting to stand up against the world’s view and expressing love the way Godly love truly is! And here’s the dichotomy of the situation; when you express to the world what God love in actuality is, then you are labeled as “harsh and UN-LOVING!” The world you see, wants to continue to be led by its feelings; “if it feels good, do it!”
In TRUTH and reality, love, true, Godly love, is a CHOICE and an ACTION. I know, I just can’t express it enough; it is a CHOICE and an ACTION! This truth has been demonstrated AND spoke of throughout the Bible, the Living Word of God. Of course the source of Godly love is God; it is not a man-made construct or emotion. It is the very Nature of God and this is not the Apostle’s first time in mentioning that.
The Beloved Apostle brings us right back to his point, “let us;” notice that again as he states, “let us,” implying the ability to CHOOSE to love. “Let us love one another.” Choose and act in love towards one another! So much packed in that simple little “command.”
“For love is of God!” Choose to do it because the very act itself is FROM God, Who is the source AND because you are beloved. You belong to a God Who loves YOU! Therefore, let US also choose to love one another as/because God (Who is the source of love), loves us!
This is so much one of my favorite subjects that as I sit here and write this out, I can’t help but think that if it isn’t actually happening in the physical, in the mental, you should be jumping up and down with total Joy at the awesome truth of this!!
Now John goes on to add and build upon this already fantastic statement; “and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” Again we have to make it clear that John is NOT thinking of the love that is common to the world when he makes this statement. He already established that he is referring to the love that comes from God Himself as the source. So in essence he is stating that everyone who loves by choice and by action, who demonstrates love as a Godly love, thus is a sign of being born of God; it is a signature as it were of belonging to God Himself! What an awesome thought! AND “knows God!”
I mean, come on; if you love like God Himself, it stands to reason that you are from/or belong too God and thus you must KNOW Him; after all, again He’s the source! But here’s the other assurance; remember, God IS the source of love, thus when we ARE reborn, the Holy Spirit OF God dwells within us and thus empowers us to love not just LIKE God, but as God! It is God within, when we have surrendered our wills to His, we thus took our first step in that CHOICE to love like/as God in action and deed! Every time we turn, every thing we do, we see the Hand of God actually doing His will through us! This is the TRUE and infallible sign of a person who claims to be an heir and son of God. You cannot get this from someone who does NOT know God!
You do not see this type of attribute coming from someone who is relying only on their “feelings” because in those cases, it is the feelings that dictate the actions and people’s feelings are dictated by what else but their emotions! We know from Scripture that God abhors sin. He does not and cannot condone it, He cannot nor does He justify it, yet, despite His “feelings” on the matter of sin, despite the fact that He is wholly pure and holy, without guile, He sent His ONLY begotten Son, as an ACT of love to pay mankind’s penalty that was due for their sinfulness! God Himself, HE supplied the necessary sacrifice according to His own covenant with mankind for a blood sacrifice and thus ushered in the NEW covenant arrangement with mankind!
God the Son, the Son of God, the Son of man, WAS that Blood Sacrifice. The Spirit of God in the form of man, fully divine, fully man, but without sin, took ALL of our sins upon Himself so that His creation, US, could be redeemed if we would only accept it as the Gift that it was, given freely for each of us individually! In this ACTION was the Nature and Character of God’s CHOICE demonstrated for ALL of mankind!
Now I love this in verse 8; John states, rather simply, yet emphatically, “for God is love.” Because of what I just wrote before and the reasons I have given, for this reason, I say, “God is love.” Notice dear reader he (John) did NOT write, “Love is God,” or “to love is God.” Now I dare say, that the world would tell those unlearned in the Living Word, this twist on the Scripture. But remember, it may have been written by John, the Beloved, it WAS inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, Himself!
This world we live in has already so tainted and corrupted what the meaning of love is, that many do not truly understand it really means. I have searched many standard online dictionaries and almost every definition I have found relating to the noun or the verb for love relates to, you guessed it, feelings and/or emotion! GOD Almighty, the Creator of all that was, is and ever will be, to many of us, our Heavenly Father, whose very Nature and Character IS LOVE, is relegated in the world to a human, imperfect and often corrupt feeling! I want to weep when I dwell on it!
Because of the way the world has twisted its meaning, it is easy for those who subscribe to that definition, to justify sacrificing moral principles and even other people’s rights to obtain that type of “love!” Is it any wonder that we see an escalation of certain sins, yes, sins that have been around for ever, yet now are being legislated into “laws of the land” and that evil has started to come out of the dark shadows and corridors to become more blatant in the daylight! Those that perpetrate those sins in the name of “love” are emboldened not just to participate openly in them, but if YOU disagree and stand on Biblical foundation, you are the “evil” one, harsh and un-loving!”
All I can say is that we are seeing what the Prophet of old, Isaiah said we should be on the look out for: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!” – Isaiah 5:20-21.
I truly love and find such great assurance in the following two verses, 9 and 10. First, God’s love was manifested or in other words, shown/demonstrated to us. I love what the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 5:8-10, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
You can see the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in this passage of Scripture and the one we are studying in 1 John! God’s love was manifested, demonstrated not JUST by Christ dying for us, God allowing the Blood Sacrifice of His only begotten Son, BUT – while we were still antagonistic towards Him AS God, while we were still vile, corrupt and unappreciative; during our completely selfish and self-centered nature, during this most abhorrent time, God, the Father demonstrated His love towards us! When we were at a state of being, the most despicable that mankind could be, THAT is when God demonstrated His love to us and as the Beloved Apostle goes on to say, “not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” He simply states, “In this is love.”
John wrote earlier in his Gospel how we were removed from that “enemy” status because of His love for us. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” – John 15:18-19.
As I stated earlier nothing evil or sinful can exist in God’s presence. He is totally and unequivocally righteous, pure and holy. God cannot overlook, condone or justify sin as if it never happened. He loves us as we can’t hardly imagine, yet that does not make Him, despite His mercy and grace, morally lax. As the Apostle James wrote, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” – James 1:16-17.
The Prophet Habakkuk wrote, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness.” – Habakkuk 1:13a.
And Peter penned these words, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:13-16.
Remember, while we were still evil and unholy, God DEMONSTRATED His love towards us first by sending His Son to be the propitiation for OUR sins, not His! Propitiation simply means atonement or reparations, simply put, payment. For our sins, payment in Blood had to be made for God to be able to redeem us of our sins according to the Old Testament Covenant of the Law. Christ Jesus paid that price for each of us, making the Gift free and available to every individual. We can do nothing to purchase this Gift; we can not earn it, or bribe the Lord for it. All we can do is to accept it and allow the Holy Spirit to apply it to each of us individually. He does ALL the work. We can show gratitude and appreciation, we can demonstrate love for that Gift, once received, but we have to accept it for what it IS; a Gift, freely given, (at a heavy price to the Giver, I might add) yet freely accepted.
I guess I want to close with this; do YOU know love? Do you know REAL love? It’s something to think about. Are you still clinging to the concept of what makes you “feel” good, or are you or have you made a choice to ACT in love no matter how you FEEL about a given situation? The choice is yours; it has ALWAYS been yours, but the choice you DO make, can make a difference in what kind of eternity you spend.
God does love you; He always has and He HAS already proven it. Will you accept His love for what it really is?